A plea to Mr. Goodell

Goodell picQuite frankly (sorry), we as Americans love football because it’s violent.

We love to see helmets fly off, the pigskin pop out of unsuspecting ball carriers’ hands, Rex Grossman get licked by Shaun Phillips.

It’s why we tune in.

But we have it good. We sit on our couches, drink our ale, eat our chips and watch. On TV.

Someone is taking that hit we cheer for. And although he may be a huge, muscle-clad athlete, it still hurts. And it’s still dangerous. And sometimes, fans would do anything not to see the hits on the field.

And yesterday, on opening Sunday no less, there was one of those moments fans pray NOT to see. Buffalo Bills defender Kevin Everett made a tackle on special teams, a head to shoulder tackle that didn’t look any different than every other play in a dozen different games Sunday.

But, it ended differently. Everett left the field on a stretcher, was rushed to the hospital and had emergency surgery on his spine. Doctors said yesterday it is unlikely he will ever fully recovered. Meaning, he’s probably not going to walk ever again.

And just like that, one of those pixelated, distant figures on the tube is gone. I’m not trying to go all Grey’s Anatomy on you, but he’s done. His football career for sure, any sense of normalcy, most likely.

So, this is where Roger Goodell can step up and show he is one hell of a commissioner. Yea, we’ve seen him punish everyone who’s blown into a Breathalyzer this offseason, but now he can do something good.

Call Everett, Mr. Goodell, or better yet, go to his hospital room. Sit by his side and let him know that whatever mountain of medical expenses awaits him, the NFL has it covered.

Cut through all the bureaucratic bs of the Players Union arguing with the league’s attorney’s, just make it right.

Let him know that you realize even though your game giveth certain players the lives of which they’ve always fantasized, it can take it all away, quicker than one of those vicious hits we see every Sunday.


15 Responses to “A plea to Mr. Goodell”

  1. September 11, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    In light of the circumstances, that was a great article. You hate to see anything like that. I hope Roger reads this.


  2. September 11, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for this post. Bills fans are struggling with this right now, and especially since Goodell is a Western New York guy, he should do this immediately. Thanks for the post and the thoughts. No fan wants to see this happen to any player.

  3. September 11, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    You’re 100% right. Not only that, Goodell can take this as an oppertunity to reach out to players with continuing health problems. The league is in great shape and shouldn’t be pinching pennies when it comes to the players’ health.

  4. 4 adam
    September 11, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    that was real nice, what you wrote up there. good work.

  5. 5 Q
    September 11, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    That is great advice for Mr. Goodell. I was at the game and have never witnessed anything like that in person. With all the bad publicity the NFL has gotten lately to cover the medical costs for Everett would be the least they could do.

  6. 6 jd
    September 11, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Um, a nice sentiment, I guess, but this guy is suffering a lot more than a lost “sense of normalcy.” There’s a very good chance he’s going to die, and soon. Chucky Mullins only lasted 2 years.
    A bedside visit would be nice. A change in the rules of football would be nicer. Limiting subsititutions, widening the hashmarks, or the entire field–in short, making efforts to downshift the speed of the game and downsize the players, so fewer collisions are life-threatening.
    But then, would you watch?

  7. 7 thc
    September 11, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Yeah, but there is one of these like every fifteen years. Construction workers probably have about the same rate of death, but are you gonna pay more for your house?

  8. 8 thc
    September 11, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    and, yeah, good article. I would think he would be there immediately.

  9. September 11, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Nice piece. I half expected you to write that we should stop being so barbaric for liking the big hits in football. Instead, I appreciate the idea that big hits often generate major injuries, and it’s important to recognize those injuries as a normal by-product of the game. The NFL should take care of its own, not just use them and kick them out onto the street.

  10. 10 jd
    September 11, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Yes, I’ll pay more for my house to use certified contractors and licensed workers. Safety’s a better selling point for me than cheap Chinese, Wal-Martized crap. I’d like a house that won’t fall down. The reason we have lead paint in kid’s toys is because people are cheap and get what they pay for when it’s made by slave labor.
    And check the stats on football at all levels. Fatalities and paralysis happen a lot more than once every 15 years. There’s at least one death, and several more cases of paralysis, each year (10 cervical injuries and 6 brain injuries with “incomplete recovery” in 2006, but who’s counting? Oh, U of North Carolina.)
    Then add in the shortened lifespans for the NFL players (Andre Waters). We could change the rules and make the game safer, if we really wanted to. But nobody really wants to.
    Just sayin.
    Good news is, looks like Everett may walk again.

  11. September 11, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Great piece. Good argument throughout and it’s good to know that as cynical as I am there are people out there who are not. Nice work. Having lived in Western New York for a long period of time (though not a Bills fan), it’s an understatement to say that the Bills are an extremely important part of the community and region. If you’ve ever lived in a small market like that, it’s a big deal to have a major league team of any kind — let alone have a member of that team nearly die. Good luck to the Everett family.

    I’m not sure we’ll see a lot change in the rules of this game. The NFL is by far the most popular major sport in the country. Freak accidents like that are why half of us left football in high school for non collision sports.

  12. 12 MarvalusOne
    September 12, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Great, great article…short, straight, to-the-point. I am hoping that this is after the fact…that Mr. Goodell has already sat by Mr. Everett’s bedside, was there this morning, or better yet, yesterday morning, when Mr. Everett’s mother arrived. I love football, and just like it was said, a good hit is cheered for, but we expect the players to immediately get up and jog off…when they don’t…it’s almost like you feel the pain yourself…I pray for Mr. Everett and his family and hope for his recovery.

  13. 13 kevinboatang
    September 12, 2007 at 9:29 am

    It’s always a horrible thing to see in any contact sport. I saw the clip here in the UK and it looked fine at first, but you just never know do you. He put his body on the line for entertainment and his own future, but the league should step in and pay for this otherwise he has lost everything.
    Lets just hope it doesn’t come to that and he gets better.

  14. 14 oneclic4
    September 12, 2007 at 11:30 am

    My heart goes out to Kevin and his family. I agree that the league should step in and provide some financial support following career ending injuries. If I am not mistaken, players can also buy insurance policies to cover career ending injuries. Sports such as football and boxing should acknowledge the need for and implement post retirement benefits.

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